In a day or two, Steve Ballmer will be unveiling Microsoft Live Search's latest attempt to climb out of the dung heap of second-rate search engines and raise its head high enough to see the dust left behind by Google.
Even Ballmer has had to admit that, with a market share under 9 percent and sliding, Live Search is officially Dead Search. With the hopes of a hookup with Yahoo scuttled, at least until Carol Bartz is in a more conducive mood, Microsoft has had to go to Plan B: Start over.
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Microsoft's code name for its new Dead Live Search is Kumo, which is Japanese for "spider" or "cloud," depending on which Kanji characters are employed. (Its Native American name would probably be "spider who drifts like cloud," or possibly "cloud that scuttles like spider.") But according to reports that first surfaced on Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Land last week and have been echoed by Ad Age and other mainstream pubs, Microsoft's new, improved, slightly-less-sucky search engine will be called "Bing."
Why Bing? A fondness for old Crosby tunes maybe. Or ex-Pistons hall of famer (and now Detroit Mayor-elect) Dave Bing. Or because it rhymes with "bling." At least they're not planning to call it Windows Live Search Ultimate Multimedia Edition 2009 version 1.0a.